By now, you must know how much love we have for your patrons. When a patron joins Patreon, we're under no illusion as to who they're here for...you!
These patrons are yours, not Patreon’s. You’ve worked to be discovered, and to earn your fans’ support. You bring them to Patreon and they become your patrons not because of anything we’re doing, but because they want to see you succeed.
That is you. You do all of that.
We exist to help you deliver awesome value to your patrons, and we pride ourselves on not getting in the middle of that exchange. When you’re ready to launch a membership business to meet the specific needs, wants and desires of YOUR patrons, that’s when we step in to help (or something like that).
And why are we telling you this?
This is why: Patreon enables you to collect, own and process the information your patrons provide, which means you can take those relationships anywhere you like.
Not everybody gives you access to your followers’ information. But we do, because we think it’s important. It’s your audience, and if you want to take them elsewhere, that should be your right.
Owning your audience is great for your creative business. Want to create an email list to reach all of your patrons? You can do that! Want to bring your patrons to another platform? No problem. You can download a .csv with all your patrons’ information, or check out some integrations that make it even easier.
However, there is a catch of sorts.
The fact that your audience is your audience means that you share in the responsibility of keeping your patrons (and their data) safe, private and protected. Patrons trust you with their email addresses, shipping information, comments and direct messages.
Look at it this way: you are a creative business, and patrons are your customers. When you get too many random emails or messages from (insert annoying company here), doesn’t it rub you the wrong way? To avoid this, be thoughtful and intentional about when, why, and how you contact, and share posts with, your patrons both on and off Patreon.
We place a lot of trust in creators to handle patron data responsibly. Think about some of the information that you’ve shared with businesses and just how grateful you are when they keep that information safe and secure. With some careful consideration and planning, you can be sure that your patrons feel that very same gratitude.
Let’s start with sharing your patrons’ display names. A good rule of thumb is, think twice about sharing your patrons’ display names across the internet (unless they’re cool with it). For example, when mass emailing, you may want to bcc your patrons instead of cc’ing them — that way, you aren’t exposing your patrons email addresses to everyone else on the list.
Here’s another thing to think about: When a patron leaves or is no longer a member of your Patreon, respect their decision by thinking very carefully about emailing or messaging them again. And most certainly, if a patron asks to be removed from an email list, remove them from that list.
No one likes spam, and certainly, no one likes their private contact info falling into the hands of bad actors. By being intentional in the way that you correspond, connect and share with your community of patrons, you can help prevent those kinds of situations.
Here are 8 other things to consider when handling your patrons data:
2.Patron Shipping Addesses: If you aren’t planning on shipping stuff to your patrons, don’t ask for a shipping address. If you do offer physical goods, only collect/keep patron shipping information for as long as you need it.
3.Patron Names: Putting a patron’s name in the credits of a project is a great way to show them you care…but, maybe let patrons know beforehand so they can object (don’t be offended, people have their reasons).
4.Don't Sell Patron Data: Don’t use patron information for purposes beyond your Patreon benefit fulfillment or community building (selling patron data is not cool).
5.Third Party Software: If you use a third party software or service to process, fulfill, connect or otherwise handle patron data, make sure that they have security/privacy policies in place.
6.Sharing Your Account Information: Don’t let anyone else access your Patreon account unless you really trust them (and even then, maybe have them give this post a read first)
7.Got a question? Reach Out: If you receive a request or complaint and don’t know how or if you should address it, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]
8.Follow Local Laws: If Patreon says one thing and your local privacy laws say another, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know. Also, do what your local laws say — we’re not looking to get anyone in trouble here.
Basically, to update the most golden of rules for the technological era, do unto others’ data as you would have them do to yours. Follow this rule and your patrons will love you all the more for it.
If you want more content like this, check out the rest of our Trust and Safety series, and subscribe to our newsletter below.
Learn more about Trust and Safety at Patreon
Subscribe to our Trust & Safety Series and receive a monthly email highlighting informative blog posts that share our logic, process, and decisions with you.